Antique Specimen of an Arctic Narwhal Tusk ‘Monodon Monoceros’
Antique Specimen of an Arctic Narwhal Tusk ‘Monodon Monoceros’
Antique Specimen of an Arctic Narwhal Tusk ‘Monodon Monoceros’
Antique Specimen of an Arctic Narwhal Tusk ‘Monodon Monoceros’
Antique Specimen of an Arctic Narwhal Tusk ‘Monodon Monoceros’

Antique Specimen of an Arctic Narwhal Tusk ‘Monodon Monoceros’

1700 to 1900 Arctic

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A Fine and Long Antique Specimen of an Arctic Narwhal Tusk ‘Monodon Monoceros’
Early 19th Century

Size: 230cm long – 90½ ins long / 244cm long – 96 ins long (inc. base) (8 feet)
See: Finch & Co catalogue no.3, item no. 40, catalogue no.7, item no.129, catalogue no.12, item no.51, and catalogue no.13, item no.58, for other examples
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Provenance: Ex English Private collection
The tusks of the ‘unicorn-whale’, the Narwhal, were being sold for substantial sums in Europe long before the real animal was widely known about. Their association with the mythical unicorn’s horn led to the belief that they were possessed of potent and powerful magical properties; any cup fashioned from it would instantly detect and neutralise poison, which was very useful if like Rudolf II of Prague you suffered from paranoia. Perhaps with good reason as in 1585 the Duke of Anjou died suddenly after his valet had forgotten to test his wine with a unicorn horn. The poison, it was said, had been administered by the Duke’s mother, the lovely but lethal Catherine de Medici.
Medium
Narwhal
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